Square Enix's worldwide technology director has said that the length of the current console generation is "the biggest mistake [Sony and Microsoft] ever made".
In an interview with GamesIndustry
, Julien Merceron shared his opinion that those developers who grew bored of the current generation were pushed into exploring iOS and browsers, and were now unlikely to return to hardware.
"We have Sony and Microsoft talking about this generation lasting seven, eight, nine or even 10 years and it's the biggest mistake they've ever made," he claimed.
"This generation has been way too long, and I say this because you have a lot of developers that work on a new platform, and perhaps will not succeed, so they will wait for the next generation, and will jump on that platform. You could not do that with this generation though. So these developers went elsewhere to see if the grass was greener. They found web browsers, they found iOS, they found other things and a lot of them won't come back to the hardware platforms. So you could look at it that thanks to Microsoft and Sony and the length of this generation, it helped the emergence of other platforms and helped them get strong before the next hardware comes out."
Merceron elaborated by suggesting that future generations could afford to be shorter, thanks to simpler hardware and increased online functionality.
He explained, "With a simple architecture you do give more chances to everybody, which I believe is very important based on the critical business situation we're in. Games will be more costly. If you start to make the entry bar really high, more studios will die, more publishers will die, there'll be less titles on platforms, etc. If you make it accessible, you give more chances to people, you'll have a better portfolio at launch, but now you also have a problem with your longevity.
"Now you don't need to manage longevity by complexity of programming, because your longevity is ensured by your online model. And I would suggest that maybe we don't want long generations."
The worldwide technical director concluded by discussing the company's latest tech demo
, Agni's Philosophy, and asserted developers will always be plagued by the Uncanny Valley
"As soon as we ramp up the quality on graphics, this level of quality on facial animations won't be good enough. Some games succeed to be at the limit of the Uncanny Valley, but… the problem is that as rendering quality will go up, new problems will surface. The quality of the facial and body animations and the acting won't be good enough. So that is why as you evolve, you have to upgrade your physics, rendering and animations," he stated.
"It will always be a problem. As you push something, you have to recalibrate and rebalance these out. You can't have these stunning graphics while characters are acting funny on the screen."